It's Weed Week, so we're lighting up a monster joint and celebrating all things marijuana. In honor of the occasion, we had a metalhead who doesn't smoke weed rank stoner metal albums. We also had a stoner who doesn't listen to metal rank stoner metal albums. Read on for the latter.
In high school, I was a wannabe DJ Clue. Not for trying to be an actual DJ, but because I was making mixtapes on a weekly basis. Every week I would fish around on Limewire, Myspace, Imeem, and anywhere else for a combination of hot new rap or deep cuts from essential artists. Then I would throw the tracks in Windows Media Player and burn 10 copies of each, all to push onto my friends and people I thought would appreciate them. It would be any combination of Mike Jones freestyles, Three 6 Mafia mixtape material, something from Cam'ron's Roc-A-Fella period, and whatever else I was feeling at the time.
One of the tapes I remember clearest is the one I made my last year of high school. It was a mixtape for being high. I don't think I was even hip to what 420 was at that point but I simply named it, Smoke Joints (smh). It had "So Hi" from Project Pat, "Budsmokers Only" from Bone Thugs, a couple psychedelic-sounding N.E.R.D. songs, and more weed-centric rap songs of the 90s and 2000s. The crazy thing is, I never even got high to it. I just liked the idea of making a tape for that purpose.
This week is obviously 420. I'm not making another high music mixtape in the near future but I've been challenged to open myself up to a new type of weed music, stoner metal. Before this, I had no idea what that was. I barely know what metal is really, but I imagine that stoner metal is just a much slower version of it. Like chopped & screwed metal which sounds like a horror movie in my mind. My colleague and metal god, Kim Kelly, blessed me with a list of essential stoner metal albums and it's funny because she doesn't even get stoned. But I do. And on the strength of her putting me down with Zeal & Ardor at the end of 2016, she's got my trust when it comes to suggesting which metal I should smoke and listen to. I ranked the 10 best albums she sent my way.
10. Weedeater, God Luck and Good Speed
I'm too high for this. This is not stoner metal enough—like I'm some reliable authority on that. It's too harsh. Everything else had a little soul to it and I'm not feeling that here.
9. High On Fire, Blessed Black Wings
This has a harsh sound but there's some beauty to this lead singer's voice. He just comes into the album screaming hard as shit and speed of these guitar riffs and drums make it sound more like a rap beat. Stoner metal rap. The thing is, the more you listen to it, the more it blows your high. It started off nice but this took about 15 minutes to become unbearable. It sounds like one long ass song and it's driving me crazy.
8. Sleep, Holy Mountain
When I hear most of this album, it feels like the beginning of stoner metal because there's something distinctly different and bare about it. Or maybe it's just in line with what I thought of most hard rock. I enjoy it though. It's far from wack. But what is the authority on stoner metal? None of this shit sounds alike. Naturally I gravitated to "Some Grass" first because I still call weed grass and no matter how out of touch I might sound, I'm not stopping. But it's just a voiceless interlude and a needed break from the noise; an obvious set up for a high person to go staring off into space and not realizing they're doing it until somebody from Sleep starts howling again.
7. Graveyard, Hisingen Blues
I like this album a lot. Considering its title and the way most of these songs sound, this is much more like a heavier style of blues. I don't listen to blues when I'm high but if I did, I wouldn't start with this. But thanks to their music I may go explore some blues essentials to put one in the air to.
6. Black Sabbath, Master of Reality
Black Sabbath is definitely the only band name I recognize out of all the music in this list and I liked most of what I've heard from them. I'm not sure when they came out but I have the feeling this is the classic case of an older artist trying to stay relevant so they do what all the kids do. Like this is the most literal and commercial album art of all these stoner metal albums. It's like if DMX started rapping on Zaytoven beats to get hot again. Oh, this actually dropped in the 70s. Anyway, I gotta go see if somebody has an actual mashup of that online.
5. DOWN, Nola
As soon as I started listening to this album a dude with a weed leaf logo on his fitted got on the train. I must be on the right track. I guess this is along the lines of conventional metal based on sound. These track titles give it away as stoner music, though. Just by reading them, it sounds like a tragic fucking story. "Rehab," "Hail the Leaf," "Jail," "Losing All," "Bury Me In Smoke." Wtf?! This is sad and dark. A wild guess is that this is about liking weed way too much and I appreciate that concept. Especially with most weed themed music being about how much of a great time people have when they're on it. All highs are definitely not the same.
4. Goatsnake, Flower of Disease
Their music is HARD. Everything on this album makes me visualize a bar fight scene or that quintessential pool hall scene with cigarette smoke creeping up to the light. Basically, every movie my grandmother used to watch on A&E or shit with Chuck Norris in it. "El Coyote" is the best song on here. I feel like I've heard it somewhere before or it just has those textbook riffs in it that succeed on any song. The funniest thing about this album—and the only thing that's outwardly stoner about it—is some of these songs titles. "The Dealer" and "A Truckload Full of Mamma's Muffins" are obviously about being high. Who else would name a song after their mother's muffins except somebody high as fuck.
3. Belzebong, Sonic Scapes & Weedy Grooves
I know this is a good stoner metal album because it took me a legit five minutes to even snap out of my high to realize I was listening to music. This shit put me in a trance. And it's perfect because this is basically an instrumental tape with skits from TV shows or movies popping out from time to time. This is the literal stoner metal sound I was expecting when I thought about what the genre may generally feel like.
2. Orange Goblin,Time Traveling Blues
Best album cover of the bunch. Their music sounds like every video Beavis and Butthead used to watch. I'm not sure if that makes the music automatically good or I just like the idea of mentally revisiting that show. "Touch The Sky" goes hard. Not quite my speed for being high but I'm trying to adjust. All I can envision is some animated video going along with this where the people's faces start to melt and snakes start crawling out of their heads. Basically the shit Travis Scott watches before coming up with ideas for his videos right now.
1. Acid King, Busse Woods
I love this lead singer's voice. She adds a smoothness that's a perfect contrast to the instrumentation backing her. I'm not sure if it's a result of Youtube messing up the original quality of the music, but there's a nice haziness to it. The first track, "Electric Machine," pulled me right in. "Drive Fast, Take Chances" and "Motorhead" are great too. I'll definitely listen to this again.
Check out the rest of Noisey's Weed Week coverage here.
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